Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tongue Mountain Range - Lake George Wild Forest - 1/1/14

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope everyone has a great 2014!

I began 2014 by getting a cardio workout on my one of my favorite local mountains, the Tongue Mountain range.

The Tongue Range in Bolton, NY has something for everyone.  The entire range lies in the Lake George Wild Forest.  There is a fabulous ridge trail that has tremendous views of Lake George.  The ridge trail also has lots of vertical for those looking for a good workout.

On this day, I chose the Tongue Range because the forecast called for mostly sunny skies this morning and I wanted to get some sunny pictures from the snowy viewpoints along the ridge.  The workout didn't hurt either.

I parked at Clay Meadows on Route 9N and began with the 2.6 mile climb to Fifth Peak.  The trail climbs 1400' to Fifth Peak.  It was 0 degrees at the start.  I was surprised that I was not the first one on the trail. I started at 9 AM and there was already a man and women ahead of me.  I soon saw them coming out.  They had gone to Fifth Peak to catch the sunrise.  Cool idea.

Trail signs near the start
I moved at a good pace to stay warm.  I typically just wear one techwick layer and a shell, even if it's cold.  I find I can regulate my body temperature by the speed that I move.  Dressing light makes me go faster. 
There was an inch or two of fresh snow on the ground and I wore my microspikes the entire day.  The snow was not deep enough to warrant snowshoes.
It took me an hour and 10 minutes to reach the lean-to.  It was mostly sunny at that point, but the sun began to disappear to the south.  In fact, it began to look quite dark.  It's funny, my pictures taken facing north show blue skies and the pictures taken facing south show the dark skies.  They look like they were taken on two different trips.
The Fifth Peak lean-to has the best view of any lean-to I know
Looking south from Fifth Peak (just before the skies began to darken)



From Fifth Peak, I began the roller coaster walk to First Peak and back.  With 3-5 inches of snow on the ground, the walking was perfect.  I did slip 4-5 times when I was on a downhill, and there was ice under the snow.  I fell once on the way back, but landed on my back on my pack.  No injuries.

The fresh snow really stuck to the trees.  Very pretty.

Black Mountain

Ice on some south facing rocks 
It took me an hour to go the 1.9 miles to French Point Mountain.  This portion of the ridge has lots of ups and downs.
Fifth Peak
When I reached a knoll between French Point Mountain and First Peak, I came across 5 fresh deer beds.  They had settled on a spot with a great view.     
Looking North from French Point Mountain



The 1.4 mile portion of the ridge between French Point Mountain and First Peak felt a little easier than the previous stretch since there weren't so many intermediate false summits.

Clouds coming in to the south...



I snapped a lot of pictures on this walk.  It's nice to pick out the best ones and delete the rest.



At 12:30, I was on First Peak.  Rev got some snacks and I had a Vitamin water and some trail mix.  At this point, I decided to return the way I came instead of going down to Montcalm Point and looping back on the trail along Northwest Bay.  I wanted to stay on the ridge.  It is a much prettier route.   



At 2:30, I was back at the col ready to drop back down to Clay Meadows.  Shortly after starting down is where I slipped and fell.  We could use a little more snow to really cover up the ice.  Hopefully the pending storm will take care of that.
I you haven't done this ridge, add it to your list of places to hike.  You won't be disappointed.
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  11.4 miles
Hike Time:  6 hours, 20 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~ 3300'

My route (Click image to enlarge)
My route on National Geographic Topo


  1. I have not done this range but have thought about I will have to do it...particularly in crowds. Thanks for the report.

    1. I agree. Sometimes in summer you will see hikers on the trail and you'll also hear boat noise from all the boats on the lake. In winter the range is quiet, beautiful and peaceful.

      The lean-to on Fifth Peak has the best view of any lean-to I know and the views from French Point Mountain and First Peak are even better.